NASHVILLE (BP) – Telling them they have an obligation “to oppose evil and protect innocent lives”, newly installed Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Brent Leatherwood sent a letter to the Lt. Gov., House Speaker and every member of the Tennessee state legislature on Monday calling them to support a proposal by Gov. Bill Lee.
Leatherwood revealed on April 3 that his three children were in the school building at The Covenant School when a former student shot her way into the school killing three students and three adults.
Lee’s proposal calls on the legislature to craft a policy that prevents people who may hurt themselves or others from acquiring firearms, according to an Associated Press report.
Leatherwood says Lee’s proposal “would strengthen our state’s orders of protection to guard the broader population from those who are a danger to themselves or others.”
Messengers to the 2018 SBC Annual Meeting affirmed a resolution On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings that included the following statement, “… we call on federal, state, and local authorities to implement preventative measures that would reduce gun violence and mass shootings while operating in accordance with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
At the 2022 Annual Meeting, messengers reaffirmed the 2018 resolution, “ … we reaffirm our 2018 Resolution “On Gun Violence and Mass Shootings” and earnestly pray for our local, state, and federal leaders to recognize the seriousness of the ongoing threat of mass shootings throughout our society and to take concrete steps, towards solutions that uphold the dignity and value of every human life, especially the most vulnerable among us, and to minimize the threat of gun violence throughout our society.”
Leatherwood praised Lee’s proposal.
“This proposal is about helping individuals in distress or dealing with mental anguish. By empowering families to signal a loved one is in need, you are giving them the ability to partner with law enforcement to provide direct and focused attention where and when it is needed for the safety of the individual and the broader community,” he wrote.
As a part of his April 3 Twitter thread, Leatherwood wrote, “We’ve become numb to these tragedies as a society. Defenseless, innocent lives being taken. We should never accept this as a reality. We need to commit ourselves to finding an answer to this epidemic and not rest until it is solved. Count me as a solution seeker on this.”
In the letter, Leatherwood thanked the legislature for their bipartisan work to fund an armed School Resource Officer in every public school in the state and provide resources for “private schools to become more secure as well.”
Hundreds of people marched to the State Capitol on Tuesday (Apr. 17) “to protest gun violence and injustice in the state legislature,” according to the Tennessean.
Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Rep. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, were expelled from the State House on April 6 for leading chants on the House floor calling for stricter gun control laws.
Both Jones and Pearson are in the process of being reinstated to their seats.
Leatherwood called for lawmakers to lock arms to protect citizens.
“I beg of you to put down the weapons of partisan warfare in this moment, and instead put on the cloak of serious and thoughtful policymaking that will make a real difference for parents, the public, and those suffering from mental distress.”